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Gene Kelly and Trade Shows: The lessons we can learn from the legend: Gene Kelly


Gene Kelly has recently been remembered for what would have been his 100th birthday.  Mr. Kelly captivated many audiences from his film debut with Judy Garland, For Me and My Gal to influencing today's choregraphers.  He continues to inspire dancers all around the world. Mr. Kelly’s charm, smile, endurance, camaraderie and professionalism are all lessons for anyone exhibiting at a trade show.

The Charm: “I spent an entire evening seated between Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, being charmed from either side. It was pure Hollywood magic," – Lorna Luft.  Being charming is the act of engaging your audience in a manner that keeps them entertained, not wanting to leave. Do we charm our trade show prospects? Or are we busy assessing them and moving on to the next. To charm is to be in the moment, to engage in a manner that is a worthwhile exchange of ideas.

The Smile: Gene Kelly had a smile that shared joy to others. Did you know that during the filming of his famous “Singing in the Rain” scene, Mr. Kelly had a 103-degree fever? Yet, he kept on smiling! It never looked insincere. Cameras and people can detect an insincere smile. Gene Kelly smiled from the inside – that is how trade show staff need to smile regardless of personal circumstances.

The Endurance: Gene Kelly was an athletic dancer. He exercised, practiced and took care of himself. When working a trade show you have to have the endurance of Gene Kelly, the stamina of an athlete. No matter your field, whether on the greens or the carpet, a trade show staff is “on” during the run of the event. This takes training both physical and mental. Gear up for your event, eat healthy, be prepared and if possible get some solid sleep so you can perform.

The Camaraderie: Gene Kelly never upstaged his fellow actors. He shared the screen and by this generous approach, Mr. Kelly and his co-stars all shined creating cinematic magic. When you are supportive of others, you are also elevating your esteem in another’s eyes. Being generous, carrying the girl, giving someone else the solo should never be a concern. Keeping in mind the bigger picture makes trade show success an ensemble performance, not a one-man show.

The Professionalism: Gene Kelly never stopped learning how to be a good dancer. He began taking lessons as a child and kept right on trying to improve his moves. His versatility: dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, and director were rewarded with an honorary Academy Award. Often times trade show booth staff must be as versatile as Mr. Kelly. You must tackle electrical issues, shipping issues, set up issues, wireless issues.

The challenges you encounter when setting up shop are considerable. Remember the endurance, camaraderie, charm and professionalism of Mr. Kelly and tackle these challenges with a smile. provides their clients trade show display products as well as full service consulation to ensure a successful event.  For more information, contact us at 800-342-9579.